By Fiona O’Brien
AP McCoy rides the aptly named and highly fancied On The Record this afternoon as he chases down close friend Martin Pipe’s career total of 4,191 winners this afternoon at Uttoxeter.
The 19-time champion jockey reached the unprecedented total of 4,000 career wins on Mountain Tunes last November, and has since set his sights on beating Pipe’s record.
McCoy rode most of Pipe’s winners as stable jockey between 1997 and 2004, before the Moneyglass man partnered up with top owner JP McManus.
“It’s a huge number of winners and Pipe is somebody I’ve always admired and been lucky enough to work with, so after the 4,000, this became the next target,” said McCoy.
It prompted Pipe to joke to the BBC that: “”If he does that, I’ll take out a licence and train a few more winners”.
McCoy is currently closing in on an incredible 20th champion jockey title, and is nearing another massive aim of achieving 300 wins in a single season.
He currently holds the record with 289 wins twelve years ago, but a brilliant start to this year’s season shows that any rumours of a retirement are a long way off yet.
He racked up his fastest ever half century this year and is currently on 74 making him virtually uncatchable in the title race.
“To beat my fastest 100 (reached on September 4), I need to get to about 85 by the end of July because there’s not so much racing in August,” he said.
Ladbrokes price McCoy at 4-1 that he will achieve 300 or more winners this season and have shortened his odds of achieving 5000 winners to 7-2 from 6-1.
They also give 2-1 that the Ulsterman will win at least another eight races before he retires, showing the racing world is not prepared to say goodbye to its most successful ever jumps jockey just yet.
Hayley O’Connor of Ladbrokes said: “We simply can’t judge McCoy by mere mortal standards.
“His season so far has drowned out any whispers of retirement and has been a distinct reminder that the man is limitless.”
So of this afternoon’s races, McCoy has three booked mounts and there is a big chance that he will not only equal but surpass Pipe’s career record. And that’s before travelling to Worcester for another four races tonight.
His first ride is on Zip Wire, trained by Donald McCain, in the 2:50 who he won on at Cartmel in May and is currently second favourite behind Tim Vaughan’s Nathans Pride at 5-2.
His best shot however seems to be on On The Record, in the 4:20, who has been backed down to 4-5.
Johnjo O’Neill’s 6-year-old has won his last two races, the last by 1 ¾ lengths under McCoy at Southwell last month, and it seems fitting for AP to equal Pipe’s record while riding in his boss McManus’ famous green and gold hoop silks.
Dashing Over is McCoy’s final ride in the last race of the afternoon and while the 6-year-old has only been ridden out once before, he is priced 5-1 among the favourites showing the bookies cannot afford to lose out on the magic that can happen when McCoy takes the reins.
Romantic punters can put a massive 36-1 treble on McCoy blowing Pipe out of the water and surpassing his record by two wins this evening, which doesn’t seem as far-fetched as it sounds when this man saddles up.